Vertluch: Parshas Shemini


‘Then Moshe said to Aaron, “This is what Hashem spoke, [when He said], ‘I will be sanctified through those near to Me, and before all the people I will be glorified.’ And Aaron was silent.” (10; 3)

After the passing of his two sons, Moshe begins to console Aaron by repeating what Hashem had told him. A few pasukim later it states that Moshe relayed to Aaron, yet again:

“And Moshe said to Aaron and to Elazar and to Isamar, his sons, ‘Do not leave your heads unkempt, and do not rend your garments, so that you shall not die, and lest He be angry with the entire community, but your brothers, the entire house of Israel, shall bewail the conflagration that Hashem has burned.” (10; 6)

What was the significance in Moshe relating to Aaron that the entire klal Yisroel would be crying over the death of his two sons? Secondly, Aaron had complete faith and trust in Hashem and accepted that what had befallen him and his family were for the best. But where did he muster up the inner strength to just sit there and remain silent?! Where did that supernatural inner control come from?

Meshech Chochma answers with an important yesod for us all.

The deaths of Nadav and Avihu were truly necessary at that point of time. Gemara in Bava Kama says ‘whoever disregards aveiros disregards life.’ We know that klal Yisroel unfortunately sinned with the Egel. It was for that reason that we had lost our ‘glory’ and the cloud that protected us had left us. All of our achievements up until this point were for naught for as soon as we transgressed with the Egel they were there no more. Only after Moshe Rabbeinu davened and poured his heart and soul out on our behalf, we were once again zoche for the Shechina to rest back in our midst. The erection of the Mishkan proved this notion, where the Kohanim and Leviim brought sacrifices to Hashem, that everything seemed ‘back to normal’. That being so, klal Yisroel could have mistakenly thought that Hashem is easy to appease; for it seemed that we can do what we want and then we will have Moshe beseech mercy on our behalf and Hashem will ‘disregard’ what we had done and we will continue as if nothing had occurred. After all isn’t that what just happened? They could have said Hashem is a vatran; He’s mevater on all His aveiros.

Says Hakadosh Baruch Hu, I need to make it known that this is incorrect. Hashem had to show the severity of an aveira. An aish zara was brought before me without a command to bring it; they therefore died and were burnt before Hashem. What Hashem was showing was that every single aveira is accounted for-no matter how big or small. One should not think that just because it’s not such a colossal one it will fly under the radar. Hashem was showing us how great even a small aveira is.

This is how we can explain the words of the pasuk ‘bikrovay ekadesh’; through [the deaths of] Nadav and Avihu, ‘v’al pinei kol ha’am ekaveid’ I will be honored and I will show my proper honor and fear.’ Without this, klal Yisroel may c’v think that Hashem is a vatran.

When Moshe relayed this to Aaron-that the deaths of his two sons were to promote and to proclaim the hashra’is haShechina in klal Yisroel-he was able to keep quiet. Once he heard that all this was to upkeep the name of Hashem, it gave him the inner strength not to react.

The significance of mentioning that all of klal Yisroel was weeping for his children was because it was through them-through bnei Yisroel and the Egel which in essence triggered this fire-that they were able to be mekadesh shem shomayim.

The message is clear. When it comes to serving Hashem there is nothing for free. Each and every action is meticulously recorded and one must know that everything we do we will be held accountable for-big or small.

As we come off a high from the yom tov of Pesach let us continue on this plateau as we embark on our journey towards matan Torah where we will show Hashem that how beloved He is to us as we rejoice with His Torah once again.